Crime, drama, wrestling, memory cards and all the things you need to traumatise your audience in one viewing.
Sometimes, Egypt makes films, and what happens is either violently terrible, or whimsically magical. Seeing as I am a connoisseur all things faulty in human sensibility and reason, today’s “review” is of one of Egypt’s strangest, beefiest and most dumfounding cinematic productions to date. I spent a good year trying to mentally erase what I saw of 3al2et Moot, but it seems that it’s there to stay, so let’s see what we can make of this heap.
Disclaimer: Try not to think of this as an actual review (reviewing this film is literally worse than beating a dead dog), but more of a meandering into what and why this is. Along with some hot titbits. Also, this was made in 2009. Two-thousand and nine.
An hour and 24 minutes of brain damage
More Testosterone Than Anybody Deserves
3al2et Moot (let’s pretend it’s ‘Death Strike’ in English) is supposed to be an action-comedy flick. But not just any comedy; it’s your typical Egyptian brand of hammy acting (where dudes literally just read cue cards), half a shoestring budget and what I can only assume was the makers’ banking on their audience being either profusely high or exceptionally easy to entertain.
The film stars revered Egyptian talents the likes of late greats Mamdouh Farag and Ghassan Mattar (who’s actually Palestinian) and iconic Egyptian Bodybuilder, El-Shahat Mabrouk. There’s some ‘actress’ called Shams involved, although she’s more akin to a tube of hemorrhoid cream than she is a pivotal character (which she is, somehow), and for some reason, it has the two dudes from that Edeeny 3a2lak show, who I will continue to refer to as Tweedledee and Tweedlestupid.
The premise revolves around the evil shenanigans of Gaber’s (Mattar) gang – with Meat-Man (Mabrouk) being the gang’s muscle (literally) and Gaber’s right-hand, as well as Shams’s character Token-Woman just…being there. Apparently, the Egyptian Wrestling Federation has an event going on where Mamdouh Farag’s devilishly named character, Mamdouh Farag, is hosting a wrestling match with four foreign (and very much real) wrestlers; The Ultimate Warrior (or El Worrya according to Farag), Ulf Herman (or Herman the German), Fucking Brody Steele and somebody who I hope is actually called Bumb-Skella (again, according to Farag). If this was going downhill before filming even started, then the rest shouldn’t be any surprise.
Worse than Hitler
There’s something about Ghassan Mattar playing literally any villain that’s just unbeatable. I’m pretty sure they didn’t even give him a script and just told him to…live. Everything he does is effortlessly treacherous and conniving, I can even imagine him making a sandwich and being menaci-oh wait…
The proof is in the Halawa
I feel like I don’t have to say much about Mamdouh Farag. Guy’s genuinely happy to be in this thing, it shows from both the look on his face throughout and the way he talks. It’s as if when this was pitched to him (or when he punched some guy into making it), his face just lit up and he treated it as if it was just another day commentating. Nice of him to bring his old buddies off of the bench for some friendly competition.
M U R D E R
You have Meat-Man having about as much charisma as he has loose skin (shit’s about to tear), doing nothing but slowly walking to people, muttering menacing things and just killing motherfuckers left and right. Dude strangles two people simultaneously with each hand. How long does it take you to open a jar? That was before he lit a whole bar/estate/hole on fire. The special effects budget must have been massive, given how spectacular the fire was. At some point, he procures a gun, but when you have fists the size of tank barrels, why bother with bullets?
Literally no context
You have Token-Woman who we know next to nothing about, besides the fact that she handles sordid business and is supposed to be the EVIL femme fatale (straight up murders a dude). Token-Woman, being the sly minx that she is, spends most of the film deceiving Mamdouh Farag’s Mamdouh Farag, all in an effort to do the evil things. Oh and she gets killed, for no reason whatsoever. Seriously, Meat-Man just comes out and strangles her. A fitting end.
Tweedledee and tweedledipshit are there for comic relief, pure and simple. To be perfectly fair, they’re good for what their intended purpose was; Egyptian comedy. Mischievous deadbeats who do nothing but fuck with the living, get high, insult little people, expose sexual affairs and pop up in a sha3by wedding. All according to plan. Seeing as fate decided to take a diarrhea break, they find themselves smackdab in the middle of Gaber’s schemes and awful, terrible dealings.
Why? Just Why?
Look, if it were any other example of Egyptian cheese, it wouldn’t be worth much time or effort. Cringe-inducing acting aside, the continuity errors, the lack of common sense, the wrestling theme going on and motherfucking Mamdouh Farag (RIP) come together to form what I can only describe as the film equivalent of a cheesecake covered entirely in pocket lint.
Ah yes, the machine that unlocks the momory cart.
You could easily be fooled into thinking this was an actual film with a plot and all, but no, dear reader, no it is not. This film was one of two things; either an attempt at garnering twice as much profit from it being a tyre-fire of a mess than if it were even mildly successful, ala The Producers. Or, it was just an excuse for Mamdouh Farag to do what he does best; commentate on wrestling matches, watch wrestling matches, wrestle in wrestling matches and just generally have a jolly old time. I’m going to go for the latter against my better judgement, seeing as the whole thing is just too good.
Yes, this film is good. Whether or not you’re at your full mental capacity (I advise otherwise), this abomination, from start to finish, is actually enjoyable. I like to assume our reader base is woke enough to realise how fucked up almost everything in the film is, and you’d have to. From the dialogue, to the scenery, to the characters and especially the soundtrack – which I believe was a man forced into a closet with a guitar to make it all happen – everything is geared towards providing you with an experience so horrifically misshapen, you’ll enjoy ripping it apart alone or with your friends, and losing your shit along the way.
No joke though, it’s pretty destructive to your brain cells. I’d watched Conan the Barbarian (1982) for the 9th time a bit earlier than when I watched this. My mind was so warped by the end of it that it immediately tried to delete it, and replace it with bits of Conan. My brother and I believed for the longest time that there was a scene in 3al2et Moot where Mamdouh Farag straight up knocked out a camel. That was from Conan. My brother still has flashbacks.